A Deputy Commissioner from the Met Police Force has spoken out against officers facing “trial by social media” after a car in which Labour MP Dawn Butler was stopped on Sunday.
Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House of the Metropolitan Police Force has spoken out in defence of the police officers who pulled over a car, in a routine police stop in which Labour MP Dawn Butler was a passenger.
Ms Butler and a male friend who was driving the vehicle were pulled over on Sunday in Hackney, East London, after one of the officers had entered the registration number of the car in to a police computer incorrectly and the vehicle had come back as being registered in the county of Yorkshire.
Ms Butler filmed the incident in an 8 minute video, on her mobile phone. She later released a clip of the video that was approximately 2 minutes long in which we saw Ms Butler berate the officers that had pulled the car over on “racial profiling” with the officers struggling to get a single word in, in response.
After the incident Ms Butler immediately took to social media to accuse the officers that pulled the car over of “racially profiling” her and her friend, and to accuse
the entire Met Police Force of a “cancerous” problem of “institutional racism”. Accusations she later repeated in an interview with Sky News. Ms Butler’s announcement on social media, after the police stop, caused a lot of anger on Twitter, with some users supporting Ms Butler, while others claimed that Ms Butler was simply in a routine police stop and had used the incident to stir up racial tensions, in the already tense and divided social environment that we currently find ourselves in.
Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House of the Metropolitan Police Force today spoke out about the incident and backed the police officers involved in the stop of the vehicle.
Deputy Commissioner House said that he had spoken to Ms Butler regarding her concerns about the police stop and the reason why it happened and added that Ms Butler made no complaint about how the stop was conducted.
The deputy commissioner defended the conduct of the officers’ after he reviewed the footage of the incident, filmed by Ms Butler and widely shared on social media.
He stated that the officers had acted properly, and it was “unfair” that police should have their actions so hastily posted and scrutinised on social media, rather than being reviewed through proper channels.
He said in a statement “The officers in this case came into work on Sunday to keep Londoners safe”
“Officers expect to be scrutinised and there are existing, appropriate and proportionate processes for making complaints and for facts to be established, and on the occasions where there is fault – unlike this case – for consequences to follow.”
“The increasingly routine trial by social media is unfair and damaging to individual officers and has the potential to undermine the role our communities need us to do to protect them and keep them safe from violence.”
Sir Steve also said that “the officers were from the Violent Crime Task Force and were in the area “as part of our proactive work to protect communities from violence”.
While many social media users are happy that the Metropolitan Police Force has come out in defence of the officers involved in the stop, some believe that this should have happened sooner. Others still are calling on the Labour Party to take action against Ms Butler, accusing her of intentionally stirring up racial tensions as opposed to acting as a force for unity, as is expected of our politicians.